Dear Dick, I’ve had a headache since March. I’m looking for a lover who will last
longer than a prescription does. On the night bus home from you I did not cry
as hard as I had hoped to. Stood outside the Tesco dressed in white,
I blow vape smoke & pop pills like pustules. Nothing to do today
except generate serotonin. Hot in hurt, I wait with greed for love’s rescue.
The dog on the street stops to smell me. The man in Leeds stops to smell me.
They sense my arousal is seasonal; a plant sheathed in earth. When you do not come,
neither can I. Orgasm is fragile as an orchid doused in napalm.
Deep, deep in the garden of our intoxication,
we grow phenobarbital & flowers,
bouquet the embryos. We prune the wings
of our angelic passions; they scream like roses.
You’re psychotic as a fly trap minus Venus.
Into the numb teeth of that god
we bump our tongues. Lilac violent copulation
in the unfurl of morning, severed foxgloves
rolling their eyes at a rheumatic sun.
You, lunatic queen, lurk unseen
in Saint Genet’s cemetery with a hard-on
& cash from a john. Sweetie, Darling; love’s gone.
Sexy Lexy, you’re not a graceful beast.
I know that what you tell me
is a liquor of lies.
See the fat, cut lip of my panic,
the blood in my eyes.
I come to realise that you cannot pleasure me.
Not in the way I can please
myself. It makes sense for us to fear
feeling so empty. I am scared every time
I sense you inside
I want to be destroyed by you
as much as I want to destroy.
But raw dogging life
just won’t cut it.
Cigarettes die in the ashtray.
To a new-old self, you say,
– fuck it.
Infatuation is a solitary pursuit. Beatrice tattoos Dante’s sonnet
across her breasts. Beatrice feels depressed. Not even laudanum
can give her the new life she seeks. She is amused by Dante
& his spasms of nobility. But she’s had a rotten summer
& wants to be distracted with sex, not poetry. She paws at Dante
& leaves out condoms for them to use but Dante does not want Beatrice,
not really, Dante wants Dante, he is his own muse.
It’s not quick & I’m resentful for this.
My SSRI & I are in a deep, dream-like relationship.
I am fully awake in the static;
when they leave, I shake,
when they stay, I sleep.
Sometimes we get benzos involved & have it off
in a three-way of drug play;
side effects augmented,
The climax is less a race than a marathon –
some people never finish.
In my dreams there is an essential lack of.
My need is something soluble,
a tap being turned on,
a stage door leading deep
into the emotional wellspring
we drink from & drink from.
More deaths, violently, like cells
in a spreadsheet switching to grey.
Have patience. I never loved anyone.
About this poem
This poem was included in Best Scottish Poems 2020. Best Scottish Poems is an online publication, consisting of 20 poems chosen by a different editor each year, with comments by the editor and poets. It provides a personal overview of a year of Scottish poetry. The editor in 2020 was Janette Ayachi.
A heady and intoxicating downpour of a poem. It hammers on to resolution with the fine art of exciting language and applied truth-sharing, however subjective, it is confessional, but distanced from the self, instead, a projection of self. How can a poem be frantic yet soothe at the same time? This poem does. We are nowhere and everywhere, we are unpinnable desires exploring a pinnacle of understanding about how the body works, how it reaches. Raw, unadulterated – a scored serenade of shifting stanzas; lullabic pockets of thought that claim the space and then sing in it. I want to read more from this poet!
A track by Oneohtrix Point Never provided the title for this poem. I wanted to create the same sense of static energy in my writing, the feeling induced by chronic anxiety – of the mind in overdrive. The opening line ‘Dear Dick’ is in reference to the book I Love Dick by Chris Kraus. The line ‘Infatuation is a solitary pursuit’ is from the poet and essayist Anne Boyer’s piece ‘The One and Only’ (published in the Mal Journal issue on desire and its objects, 2018) which in its descriptions of ‘epic wanting’ was a large source of inspiration for this poem.